Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

10 Budget-Friendly Exercise Gadgets

Tight budgets are no excuse to let yourself get flabby.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Tight budgets are no excuse to let yourself get flabby. Sure, a pricey gym membership may be something you don’t want to spring for right now. And home exercise equipment with all the bells and whistles may be out of the question. Luckily, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to exercise. Some won’t even cost you a thin dime.

WebMD turned to three respected exercise experts: Steven Blair, PhD, at the University of South Carolina, Jennifer Huberty, PhD, at the University of Nebraska, and Andrea Dunn, PhD, at Klein Buendal in Colorado. Here’s what they recommend:

Recommended Related to Women

"I Hate Asking for Help"

By Cynthia HansonIt's the four-letter word no woman likes to utter. How to ask for what you need. It wasn’t until Kathleen Hornstein realized that she couldn’t move her legs that she finally broke down and asked for help. A 34-year-old Pilates instructor and mom of two, Hornstein was pregnant with twins, and despite being overextended and overtired, she had barely slowed down and prided herself on being able to handle anything that came her way. Then, during her second trimester, as she sat...

Read the "I Hate Asking for Help" article > >

Jump Rope

It may be child’s play, but jumping rope offers an unusually complete workout. It improves aerobic fitness at the same time that it strengthens legs, buttocks, arms, and shoulders. No wonder many boxers, wrestlers, and other athletes use jump ropes to train. Jump ropes are easy to pack. Basic jump rope: under $10.

Resistance Bands

They’re cheap, portable, and can be used to give virtually every muscle in your body an intense workout. A vigorous workout also burns calories, which can help with weight loss. A good set of bands starts at about $10. Most come with a basic set of instructions.

Pedometer

Having trouble motivating yourself to take a brisk walk every day? Studies show that step counters, or pedometers, help inspire people to be more active. Many versions are available, from basic ones that simply tally up steps to fancier models you can hook up to your computer to keep track of your progress over time. Basic step counter: $20 to $30.

Hand Weights

A pair of hand weights -- also known as dumbbells -- offers a great upper-body strengthening workout. Another option: use everyday weighted objects you can easily grasp in each hand, such as a water bottle, socks filled with dried beans or sand, or a bag of rice. Basic hand weights: $15.

Yoga Mat

If you do yoga at home, you probably already own one. Even if yoga isn’t your thing, mats still come in handy for doing basic calisthenics such as sit-ups, push-ups, deep knee bends, and other exercises that use body weight -- and gravity -- to strengthen muscles. Jogging in place or doing jumping jacks add aerobics to your routine and burn calories. (For example, 10 minutes of vigorous jumping jacks burns about 100 calories, assuming a body weight of about 155 pounds.) Yoga mat: $15-$20.

Medicine Ball

About the size of basketballs, medicine balls are weighted and can be used to add intensity to a basic set of floor exercises. You can squeeze a medicine ball between your knees while doing reverse curls to strengthen abdominals, for example, or hold it above your head while doing lateral flexes to tighten up oblique muscles. Most come with instructions for a set of basic exercises. Medicine ball: About $20.

Today on WebMD

woman looking in mirror
Article
Woman resting on fitness ball
Evaluator
 
woman collapsed over laundry
Quiz
Public restroom door sign
Slideshow
 
Couple with troubles
Article
Bone density illustration
VIDEO
 
Young woman being vaccinated
Slideshow
woman holding hand to ear
Slideshow
 
Blood pressure check
Slideshow
mother and daughter talking
Evaluator
 
intimate couple
Article
puppy eating
Slideshow